ImagesMagUK_September_2021 28 images SEPTEMBER 2021 Stormy seas: A special report on the global shipping crisis S ince Covid first took hold in China at the beginning of 2020, shipping routes, capacity and costs have been affected across the world – and the impact is still being felt more than 18 months later. It’s a complex situation, as Michael Overy from heat transfer film distributor Dae Ha UK explains: “The first lockdown in China and subsequently the rest of the world caused an imbalance of where containers were located. The containers left China, but there were lower exports back to China due to lockdowns and hence ships were going back to Asia with fewer containers than usual. As Asia exports picked up again, there was a lack of containers in the region, as many were still in Europe, the US etc. “Upon re-opening in summer 2020, container supply and demand issues were created and costs naturally started to rise.” On top of this, he explains, social distancing at global ports has and continues to cause delays to loading/ unloading, causing further backlogs and reducing the frequency of round trips for each ship, which in turn leads to increased costs. Add to that the Suez Canal blockage in March, a collapsed crane set in Kaohsiung in Taiwan, and a 70% reduction in terminal workforce at the port of Yantian in China, where Increasing costs and uncertainty over timings have been on-going issues for all those shipping products to the UK over the past 18 months. Images talks to manufacturers and importers about the shipping problems they are facing and how they are striving to minimise the impact on decorators INDUSTRY ISSUES The cut in container trips has forced shippers to increase their prices from $2,000 to $15,000 for a 40-foot container